Frequently asked questions

Category: Privacy

What happens when I contact the BBC?

When you email, write to us or phone us, we may use your personal information in order to respond to your comment, complaint or question.

When you text a BBC show, such as Radio 1, we sometimes use your personal information to contact you.

What happens when I use BBC iPlayer?

If you are signed in with BBC iD
If you are signed in when you use BBC iPlayer, we will be able to provide additional functionality to you, for example, we will remember your favourite programmes and categories and recommend content to you based on your previous viewing.

This information will be saved to your BBC iD account so that anytime you sign in to your account you will have access to your favourites and automatic recommendations. Manage your BBC iD account.

If you are not signed in
If you are not signed in when you use BBC iPlayer we will use cookies to remember your favourites and what you have previously watched.

When you use iPlayer from a different browser or device we will not know what you have viewed or added to your favourites. For example, if you favourite some programmes when using iPlayer on your laptop, you will not be able to access these from your mobile phone because we won’t know that you are the same person.

If you download a BBC programme using BBC iPlayer Downloads
If you use the BBC iPlayer Downloads application on your computer we will send cookies to your device. We do this so that you can download your favourite programmes and to help us understand how the application is used, and how we can improve it.

This information cannot be transferred from one device to another (e.g. from your laptop to your mobile phone). Find out more about cookies.

If you sign up to email updates relating to BBC iPlayer
If you sign up to iPlayer email updates the BBC may include information about content and services that we think might be of interest to you. To opt out of receiving any further updates you can unsubscribe.

The BBC will use some categories of information (including interest groups, year of birth, gender and region) to tailor the information we send to you.

What happens when I use BBC online services?

When you use BBC online services, cookies record information about your online preferences. They allow us to tailor our websites to you. For example, if you have set up a BBC iD account, cookies will be set to ensure we can keep you logged in, until you choose to log out.

You have the ability to control what cookies are set on your device through the BBC website and you can find out how to do this in Managing Cookies.

We also collect your IP address. An IP address is a unique number that allows our servers to identify your device. We use this to help us understand what content our audience is interested in, to block disruptive users, and to determine whether you are accessing the services from the UK or not.

Registering for a BBC iD account
You can register for a BBC iD account, which allows you to comment, send pictures, videos and music, take part in quizzes and games and to personalise your favourite sites. When you register with BBC iD, we will use your personal information to manage your registration. For example, if you need to reset your password.

Sharing BBC content
You will see embedded ‘share’ buttons on BBC web pages, these allow you to easily share content with your friends through a number of popular social networks. When you click on one of these buttons, a cookie may be set by the service you have chosen to share content through. The BBC does not control the dissemination of these cookies and you should refer to the privacy pages on the relevant website.

If you are accessing the BBC website from outside the UK
If you’re outside the UK, you will see the international version of the BBC website,, which is delivered by BBC Worldwide Ltd, the BBC’s commercial subsidiary. This version of the site features advertising, a certain amount of which is tailored to the individual user. BBC Worldwide use cookies to work out what advertising might be most relevant to you based on the areas you look at on BBC sites and your IP address information. This is a practice widely used by other major web publishers and is known as “behavioural targeting”. The tracking system is anonymised and therefore it does not know who you are: it simply uses the limited information available to it to serve ads to you which it believes are relevant. Find out more about our behavioural targeting system and how you can switch it off if you wish.

What happens when I comment or contribute to the BBC website?

User Generated Content (UGC) is content that is produced by our audiences. UGC may include digital video and images, mobile text messages, blogging, message boards, emails and audio submissions.

We may use the information you give us to contact you in order to check your content or obtain further information about your work. We may also contact you in relation to particular projects or to seek your consent if we want to use your work for a different purpose.

When you join a BBC website, (for example to contribute to a ‘comments’ page) we will use your personal information to manage your registration. For example, we sometimes need to provide you with password reminders.

Please be careful when making contributions to message boards, blogs and other services as they are visible to all users. Once you post something, you can't remove it. Find out more.

What happens when I subscribe to a newsletter or news alert?

When you subscribe to a newsletter or news alert, we will use your personal information in order to provide the content to you. We may also use your personal information for marketing purposes, such as telling you about a BBC service or programme we think you might be interested in, if you’ve told us you are happy for us to do so.

What happens when I use BBC Children’s services?

As with our adult services, our BBC Children’s Services sometimes collect personal information in order to respond to you.

If we see a post on a BBC Children’s message board, which leads us to believe a child is in danger, we may pass the post and other details on to people who can help, like the NSPCC.

See the CBBC Pledge for more information.

What happens when I enter a competition by phone, text, or email?

When you enter a competition we will use your personal information to contact you if you win and we will keep this information for as long as we need it for the competition. If you have not won, we will delete it 6 months after the competition has closed. If you entered via a premium rate number, we’re required to keep a record of your entry for 2 years.

We may also use your personal information for marketing purposes if you’ve told us you are happy for us to do so.

Will you share my data with another organisation?

We may from time to time need to share your data with other organisations, when they have been contracted by the BBC to provide a service on our behalf. For example, we may contract another organisation to create and distribute newsletter for us and we would need to share your email address with them along with any additional information you have supplied to help us to understand what content you might be interested in.

These third party organisations will be acting upon written instruction from the BBC and they will use your data solely for the purposes of supplying a service on our behalf. They will not use your data for their own commercial purposes.

What happens when I download and use a BBC app?

When use a BBC app, we collect statistical data, to help us to learn what works and what’s most useful for you. All data is collected anonymously (eg we won’t know what pages a specific person visits, or their precise location), but we will be able to see general trends about which pages and areas are more popular. Many BBC apps allow you to opt out of the collection of this data. To opt-out of statistics collection, go to the ‘Help’ or ‘settings’ tab within the app.

At the present time, it is not always possible in our apps to opt-out of the collection of device information which is used for internal purposes to improve our services. If you are not happy to be included in our usage reporting please do not use our apps until we have a solution to allow you to opt-out.